Tag Archives: Congress

Congress Pushes on DHS to Improve the USCIS Contact Center

On February 28, 2022, 47 members of Congress wrote a letter to Secretary Mayorkas (Department of Homeland Security) and Director Jaddou (Citizenship and Immigration Services) urging them to make improvements to the USCIS Contact Center. The letter specifically mentions the barriers posed by the shift from InfoPass to InfoMod in conjunction with scheduling in-person appointments at field offices. They state that navigating the new three-tiered system has caused extensive wait times, unreasonable callback windows, and significant customer dissatisfaction.

Another grievance the letter refers to is the fact that members of an attorney’s legal staff are not allowed to receive updates through the new contact center; if not the beneficiary, only the attorney of record can raise an inquiry or speak to USCIS officers. The letter goes on to mention that as USCIS’ pending caseload has increased 85% from 2015 to 2020, improvements to the contact center will reduce the burden on the agency itself and improve overall customer satisfaction.

In summary, the letter asks for:

  1. Reinstating InfoPass or another online appointment self-scheduling system
  2. Providing accurate and accommodating callback windows
  3. Allowing law firm staff other than the attorney on record to make requests
  4. Making public the criteria for granting appointments through InfoMod
  5. Offering walk-in availability for urgent requests at local USCIS offices

Questions? Email info@challalaw.com

Information from AILA Doc. No. 22030300.

 

Is Congress going to reauthorize EB-5 Regional Centers?

The authorization for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program ended at midnight on June 30, 2021. This has left hundreds of EB-5 petitions that were submitted under the Regional Center Program pending, as USCIS decided not to act on these petitions until new legislation for Regional Centers was enacted. There was buzz towards the end of the 2021 about Regional Centers being reauthorized, but nothing came about.

Once again Challa Law has heard that there is a draft EB-5 Regional Center reauthorization bill floating around as part of the omnibus package for February 18, 2022. The buzz is that the minimum investment for targeted employment areas (TEA) will be upped from $500,000 to $700,000; Non-TEA minimum investment will be $850,000. If the new legislation is enacted, the program would be reauthorized through the year 2027; however, the changes will likely go into effect immediately.

For more information on the EB-5 Investment Program, email us at info@challalaw.com or check out our YouTube channel.

Proposed Immigration Language for Green Card Fees & Issuance

UPDATE: Senate Parliamentarian Rejects Option for Including Immigration Proposals in Reconciliation Bill

The House Judiciary Committee approved some immigration language to include with the upcoming budget reconciliation bill, which would allow some applicants the ability to pay an extra fee to be issued their green card. On September 20, 2021, the Senate’s nonpartisan parliamentarian determined that Democrats could not include the language in the bill, calling the language “by any standard a broad, new immigration policy.” She noted that these provisions would not be allowed in the bills if the budget effect is “merely incidental” to the overall policy impact.

Although a House committee approved the language, there are still several steps before the bill is brought to the House and Senate for a vote. If passed by both branches of Congress, the bill would be sent to the President for signature before implementation. Below is a summary of the proposed language, but please note this language could change significantly before potential approval.

Summary of Immigration Language

  • House Judiciary Committee approves immigration language for the reconciliation bill
    • New section in INA that would allow anyone in 4 categories to adjust status if they pay a supplemental fee of $1,500 and pass security/law enforcement checks and medical exam
      • Categories are Dreamers, essential workers, TPS, DED
      • Essential workers:
        • continuously physically present in the US since 1/1/2021
        • Demonstrated a consistent record of earned income in the US in an occupation listed in DHS’ Advisory Memorandum on Ensuring Ability to Work During the COVID from 1/31/2020 to 8/24/2021 Essential Critical Infrastructure  Workers
      • Recapture of unused immigrant visa numbers
        • Recapture of family and employment visas that went unused between 1992 and 2021 and automatically recapture unused numbers going forward
        • DV visas remain available from 2017 to 2021 if visa refusal was due to Trump visa ban or COVID slowdowns
      • DHS may accept AOS if the beneficiary of an approved I-130, pays a supplemental fee of $1,500 plus $250 for each derivative beneficiary and is otherwise eligible to adjust
        • DHS may exempt applicants from family numerical limits if they have a priority date more than 2 years old and
          • Applying in FA-1, FA-3, FA-4 and pay $2,500
          • EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3, and pay $5,000
          • EB-4 and pay fee of $50,000
        • Would take effect 180 days after the date of enactment or May 1, 2022, whichever is earlier
        • Additional supplemental fees
          • Family 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th green card petitions shall have a new $100 supplemental fee. EB-1, 2, and 3 petitions shall be accompanied by a new $800 supplemental fee. EB-5 petitions shall be accompanied by a new $15,000 supplemental fee.
        • USCIS shall be appropriated $2.8 billion to increase their capacity to handle the new programs under 60001 and 60003.

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